When it comes to organic farming in Hungary, there are few greater experts than Mátyás Nemes. Winner of Organic Farmer Of The Year in 2015, Mátyás consults for the Eminence Certified Organic Farm, educates our farmers and grows ingredients for our skin care products. As one of the pioneers of organic farming in this region, he brings us decades of experience and a dedicated belief in both organic and biodynamic farming practices.
Now a grandfather of six and parent to two sons (who are also farmers!), Mátyás is a master of his profession and one of the guiding lights at our farm. Between his 3AM daily start and packed daytime schedule, we were lucky to catch up with him for a chat about his thoughts on organic farming, his values and his passion for the planet.
How long have you been a certified organic farmer?
I can’t believe how time flies! Next year, it will be 20 years. I started organic farming in 1999.
What attracted you to the organic movement and the idea of becoming an organic and biodynamic farmer?
First and foremost, my main focus was the health of my family, my children and myself. I firmly believe that you are what you eat, and I felt like there was no way I’d want to put chemicals or artificial fertilizers into my body or my loved ones’.
It seems like an obvious logical choice but these days, people choose not to think about what they’re eating but only about convenience. Organic farming might be more work for a farmer – and yields less harvest – but at the end, your health is worth it all.
In 2015, you were voted Organic Farmer Of The Year in Hungary. What does this mean for you personally?
I felt very humbled, and it only inspired me to get better and better at what I do. It is one thing to win such award, and it is another to continue being worthy of it! Because of this award, people come to me for advice, and it makes me even more conscious that I need to lead by example and make the planet a healthier place to live.
Side story: One of my colleagues won this award after me and, in her acceptance speech, she said that she found me so inspirational, she would have given me the award if I hadn’t won it already! I was very touched, and it felt wonderful to be recognized by my colleagues.
What are the most important facts we need to know about organic farming?
There are so many! The obvious one is that we don’t use genetically modified (GMO) seeds or plants in organic farming. We use plants in the form that nature intended. After all, why play Russian roulette with your body when we have no idea about the consequences of consuming GMO food? In my opinion, GMO hasn’t been around for long enough to be deemed safe and the consequences are only now slowly surfacing to the contrary.
We don’t use any artificial, toxic sprays or pesticide. Instead, we use many other methods of natural repellents, like plants and honey traps.
In the same way, we refuse to artificially inflate fruit with chemical fertilizers. In this new age of agriculture, farmers feed plants directly for the fastest growth and to produce the biggest fruit. In our type of organic farming, we believe in indirect nutrition that ensures our fruits and vegetables have high nutritional value compared to conventional produce which is bloated with water weight. We rely on traditional techniques like using compost and natural minerals as well as rotating crops. In comparison to GMO produce, our fruit looks smaller and more imperfect, but it’s more flavorful and contains greater nutrition and mineral content.
Do you have a favorite plant?
One of my favorite is kale – it’s such a beautiful, ancient plant. It has a high chlorophyll content which is not only healthy but also has an amazing beautifying and rejuvenating effect on the body and skin. It’s high in Vitamin A, B, C and K and contains lots of minerals as well as quercetin and other cancer-fighting ingredients. Using kale in skin care products, like serums and masques, is not only great for beauty but for the health of the skin as well. Plus, kale is so easy to grow – there are very few bugs that will attack it, and it’s resistant to fungal infections as well.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love being a storyteller to adults, ha ha! What I mean is that I love to educate people about the planet, their health and the interlinked connection. I would love to have as many people see the beauty of the organic way of life and its effect on human existence. I’m so happy that we have the Eminence Certified Organic Farm as a way to tell this story. With our open village days and events attracting visitors and spa directors from North America, I feel honored that we have this beautiful farm to showcase the plants that go into the making of Eminence Organics products.
Do you have a favorite Eminence Organics product?
My favorite is the Apricot Body Oil. After a long day working at our farms (I usually get up at 3 or 4 AM, depending on the season), my hands get very dry. In the summer, I also find that the sun dries my skin out. I love to use this oil on my hands as well as a body oil. At the end of the day, I pour a few capfuls of this oil into my bath and my skin is completely revitalized afterwards.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Thank you for supporting local farmers and the organic movement. Together – for our children and future generations – we can leave the planet in better shape than how we found it.
Read more about Mátyás Nemes and other team members that nurture the Eminence Certified Organic Farm.